Wawrinka falls for tall tale at Wimbledon as Djokovic waits

London, AFP | Updated : 04 July 2019, 10:09 AM
Two-time quarter-finalist Wawrinka, 34, was beaten 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 by his American opponent. (File Photo)
Two-time quarter-finalist Wawrinka, 34, was beaten 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 by his American opponent. (File Photo)

Three-time major winner Stan Wawrinka was knocked out of Wimbledon on Wednesday, falling in five sets to 6ft 11in (2.1m) Reilly Opelka as defending champion Novak Djokovic waited to push his bid for a fifth title. Two-time quarter-finalist Wawrinka, 34, was beaten 7-5, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 8-6 by his American opponent, the tallest man in the sport and 13 years his junior.

Opelka fired 23 aces and 59 winners and goes on to face either 2016 runner-up Milos Raonic of Canada or Robin Haase of the Netherlands.

Opelka will be appearing in the third round at a Slam for the first time having never won a grass court match in his career prior to coming to Wimbledon.

Wawrinka won warm applause for giving a line judge a warm embrace after accidentally colliding with her as he sprinted to hit a backhand.

“I was a bit too far to return a serve. I think I went against her, so I was sure she had some pain and was not happy, so I gave her a little hug,” said the genial Swiss.

Also feeling the pain was Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan who was forced to retire when just two points from victory against Ukraine eighth seed Elina Svitolina.

World number 62 Gasparyan was 7-5, 5-4 ahead when she collapsed to the ground on Court Three, suffering with cramping.

Although she bravely tried to continue, the Russian, who has undergone three knee surgeries in her career, was forced to quit.

Djokovic’s path to a fifth title was eased on Monday when potential title rivals Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev were knocked out of his section of the draw.

Later Wednesday, the top seed takes on world number 111 Denis Kudla of the United States where he will attempt to make the last 32 for the 14th time.

The Kiev-born Kudla, who moved to the US with his parents on his first birthday, made the third round in 2015, knocking out Zverev in the first round.

Cori Gauff, just 15 years old, was the sensation of the first round when she stunned five-time champion Venus Williams having already become the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon.

She faces 30-year-old Magdalena Rybarikova who made the semi-finals in 2017.

First Published: Thursday, July 04, 2019 07:47 AM
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